Online office suite? Sweet.


Date: 25 June 2010

And there it goes again. That’s the third time today that my ******ing PC has crashed on me. And no, I didn’t save. So yes, I have to start the whole thing from scratch.

WHY do we still have these problems? I ditched my typewriter for a PC more than twenty years ago, yet here we are in 2010 and, well, there goes that familiar reboot tune.

We buy new, faster computers because they’re capable of dealing with new, more feature-rich software - which is then superseded by yet more feature-rich software, demanding we buy more computers.

So there’s a choice. We can enter a hellish world of upgrades or step off the merry-go-round and stick with what we’ve got until it expires / isn’t compatible with anything / makes visiting clients laugh like a drain.

We've come to expect our PCs to have a shelf life of just three to four years. That’s surely absurd when televisions can go on for decades while my old Sony radio dates back to the 1980s. I've not needed to buy more memory or upgrade a processor in order to watch BBC1 or pick up the Shipping Forecast, so must we resign ourselves to an endless PC upgrade path when we’re busy trying to run our businesses, thank you very much?

Perhaps things are changing. Google, Microsoft and others are racing to offer us a ‘web app’ alternative to our less than trusty, PC-based office packages. You access the software and your files over the internet through your browser, and in theory you hardly notice the difference. They’re not quite there yet, but the latest web apps are close in functionality and performance to their ‘normal’ software cousins.

The pros? Less strain on the PC, upgrades which happen automatically, and possibly a longer lifespan for your next PC. The cons? Perhaps monthly subscriptions in place of irregular upgrade costs, and the understandable concern that sensitive data might become stranded on some data farm in the American mid-west.

This is where the IT Donut comes in. We’ll run the rule over the latest web apps, telling you all you need to know to make an informed, unbiased decision on your next piece of IT expenditure. And seeing as we’re writing from the perspective of the small business owner - not the techie, geek or fan-boy obsessive - it’ll be advice you can rely on.

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.